Living in California has completely changed how we can celebrate Dan’s February birthday since we can count on weather that is warm enough to open a wide option of activities. What did the birthday boy pick? An active day enjoying nature.
We started with an early(ish) morning drive to Muir Woods and were greeted by this luminous rainbow in honor of Dan.
We arrived at Muir Woods to hike amongst the redwoods somewhere around 8:30 am and found a parking spot right in the top lot. And then we were pleasantly surprised to find the park open and a “Free Admission” sign covering the admission rates. Muir Woods is known to offer free admission on holiday weekends, which attracts an enormous crowd. We tried to go last President’s Day weekend when cousins were visiting and after driving two and a half miles past the entrance to find a parking spot, we gave up and continued the short distance (at that point) to Muir Beach. It turned out to be a good compromise and still gave us a hike, but we were completely floored at how packed the park was. But this wasn’t a holiday weekend. Finding a close parking spot and getting free admission was a stroke of good birthday luck!
The entrance of the park is paved that meanders into a walkway covered with well-manicured wooden paths, which makes the park accessible to a wide audience, but was disappointing to us…until we found a path that took us up the mountain the equivalent of approximately 60 flights of stairs (according to our iPhones) and turned it into a real hike.
Let me tell you, the hike up was much longer than the hike back down. So much so that it was almost hard to believe it was the same path! After our morning hike through the woods, we took Trader Joe’s salads down to Muir Beach for a late lunch where the sand was warm and the breeze cool.
It was the ideal weather to lay on the beach in the sun, enjoying the sunshine and light breeze…and sneak in a little nap.
After beach time, we headed home to clean up and go out to to dinner at Howie’s Artisan Pizza, a place that’s been on Dan’s list since moving to Palo Alto a year and a half ago. We also picked up the second Captain America movie to enjoy after dinner (for a second watching). I zonked out about a third of the way into the movie, probably assisted by the post-pizza and cookie dough combo, but Dan lasted to the end for a full day of birthday celebrating — just as he deserves! I love this guy!